Does Your Business Need to Be Licensed?

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Local Councils and Police, currently cracking down on licensing laws, have been focusing on the beauty industry.

It has become common practice for hairdressers and beauty parlours to offer a complementary alcoholic drink as part of a ”pamper” package, without realising that an alcohol licence is required. A licence must be held, not just to sell, but also to supply alcoholic beverages to customers, and doing so unlicensed can result in a fine of up to £20,000.

Similarly, if background music is played then a music licence must also be in place. Licences from the Performing Rights Society (PRS) and Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL) will allow you to play recorded music without breaking any copyright or broadcastings laws. One hairdresser was recently fined £1,500 for not having a PPL licence, even though he did have a PRS licence.

Licensing laws apply to all businesses of course, not just beauty salons. Music licences in particular are easily overlooked, with radios often in evidence in shops, garages and offices. Officers from PRS have been known to visit premises undercover to see if recorded music is being played without a licence. Even if it is only for the benefit of your staff, broadcasting without the appropriate licences can result in prosecution and significant penalties.

An alcohol licences can be obtained by applying to your local authority but music licences are available direct from the controlling bodies mentioned above.

Please note: This article is a commentary on general principles and should not be interpreted as advice for your specific situation.

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